ATLANTIC CITY, NJ, May 18. IN an effort to promote marathon swimming as an Olympic event, the third annual 10K for the USA international swimming marathon will be held on September 11, 2004.
With a new twist this year, the 10,000-meter race will begin in Margate and proceed along the Intracoastal Waterway through Ventnor and finish in Atlantic City. USA Swimming and FINA, the world’s governing body for aquatic sports, have sanctioned the race as one of twelve stops on the 2004 World Cup of Marathon Swims, which also includes the Around the Island Swim on July 24th.
USA Olympic bronze medalist Chris Thompson will make his international open water swimming debut following an outstanding pool swimming career that includes nine national titles and three American records. The Michigan grad will be seeking another Olympic medal in Athens this August and then turn his attention to professional marathon swimming.
Most of the world’s elite distance swimmers will attend including the reigning FINA World Cup Champions, Petar Stoychev of Bulgaria and Britta Kamrau of Germany. The 10K race will also feature an amateur division open to any registered USA or USMS swimmer willing to take on the 6-mile course.
Race Director Sid Cassidy notes that the change of venue will add to the excitement of the competition. “By starting this year’s race on an incoming tide in Margate, we expect that the professionals could set a world’s best 10K record time. We will also be able to accommodate many more amateur swimmers. Fans along the back bays can cheer for
world-class athletes and local endurance swimmers of every ability level.”
Cassidy said that through great support from local merchants and the city of Margate, the race will start at the newly dedicated Amherst Street Park at the foot of Washington Avenue. The 3pm start will follow a brief ceremony to acknowledge all those who lost their lives on that date in 2001. Finishers are expected to arrive at the ACHS Crew House near the Albany Bridge in Atlantic City between 4:30 and 6:30pm.
The 10,000-meter distance, approximately 6.2-miles, has been endorsed by FINA as the proposed Olympic swim marathon distance because it allows elite swimmers to finish the race in approximately two hours, similar to the Olympic Marathon run and the Olympic triathlon. USA Swimming and FINA are currently lobbying the International Olympic Committee to add the 10K race as the open water swimming event for future Olympic Games. The 2004 10K for the USA will be held twenty-two days after the closing ceremonies of the Athens Olympic Games.
Race organizers plan to provide $15,000 in prize money including a $4,000 first-place award to both the top male and top female in the FINA World Cup race. Sponsors are being sought to help absorb this expense. Preparations will continue through the summer months and the entire community is invited to participate.